Saturday, February 23, 2008

Belly dance as aerobic and stretching exercise

Because my parents were here and I needed to escape somewhere to do something for ME, I ended up going to the belly dancing class by Tito Seif. Tito is very famous belly dancer from Kairo, Egypt, and stopped here only for 2 days because he came to grab one of the local dancers and take her to Las Vegas to dance with him in the shows. What a chance! We seldom get big names, UNLESS they want to come to vacation in Hawaii. Plus, I never read the newspapers and by chance I saw the article on his class just a few days before the class.

So, wow. That was an amazing class, and I noticed a definite improvement in all my dancing, including the West African dance I regularly go to. Tito was an incredible inspiration because he is so creative and has so much fun while he dances. He just smiles and dances and makes up all kinds of funky moves. It is always different.
*****A GOOD TEACHER MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE.****** Somehow something of his schine rubbed on me.

Also, it must be that belly dance is in my blood, my genes are from there and the dance is definitely familiar. What else can I say! I can listen to that music and it all makes sense and sounds cool. It is helping me transition to listening to pure West African music, which is definitely more ... jazzy.

West African music is pure drums and to me it is harder to just listen to it if I am not dancing or drumming. Somehow it requires more participation than just listening. It is ACTIVE music. Also, it sounds more like jazz, the syncopations and the pauses are definitely less predictable. That is what makes traditional African music so cool and so healing. It turns off the logical mind and turns on the higher mind. It requires total relaxation yet alertness. Also, there is absolutely NOTHING sad in African music. It is ALL just happiness and joy. That is definitely a gift to the world. Coming from the chronically melancholic, sad, self pitiful, whiney Eastern Europe, I SUPER highly appreciate the happy, grounded, centered tone of African music. It heals! It connects to the Earth and to one's body and Self.

I concluded that listening to music and being able to SING ALONG is a prerequisite for dancing. That's why Middle Eastern is helping me with African, because African has nothing but drums, and I needed to learn to sing along just drums. It's a learning process, definitely, for a totally white westerner like me. I grew up listening to very linear melodies (that I always found boring). Luckily, we had some middle eastern influence and there was drum music in all kinds of funky beats, like 7/9, and I always adored listening and dancing to that.

So, all this curvey, circular, wiggly, zigzag music is a fabulous exercise. It requires moving the whole body. Check out the articles on dance therapy.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

retail therapy

My parents are visiting. They go bananas when indoors, but are not enterpreneuring to go outside (in a nice warm Hawai'i...) and are always lookiing for something to entertain them. In short, they do not know how to entertain themselves.

So, I dropped them off at (rather fancy, well visited, famous, touristy) shopping mall called Ala Moana and came back 6 hrs later.

I was sure they would be tired. Not at all! Both of them were completely refreshed and perky. They enjoyed window shopping and people watching. Luckily the mall is mostly outdoors so they practically spent the day outdoors by the ocean.

Now they are home again and cranky and don't know what to do with themselves.

Interesting - what this modern age makes of human beings: people who don't know what to do with themselves and have to be entertained. There is no gratitide, no enjoyment of life, only grumbling that there is nothing external to keep us passively entertained.

Maybe that's how it always has been - that's why there are alcohol and drug problems all over the world. I once watched a documentary of some hut in middle of some African desert where grandma and her son and wife and kids live, and grandma brews some beer and is drunk all day. This was maybe 5x5 grass hut in the middle of nowhere. Obviously, that woman in that hut does not know what to do with her time either.

So, what does it mean to have parents and society like this? People that taught us those habits and now we are like them but feel that something is not quite right.

I was first feeling scandalized and then accepted that this is my heritage on one level. On another level, I am a child of God and that heritage is mine too, and needs to be nurtured.


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